I don’t disagree that Justin Combs is a smart man. The same article said he is graduating from Iona Prep in New Rochelle with a 3.75 GPA. I don’t disagree that Justin Combs is a great athlete since he earned a scholarship to UCLA. What I find issue with is that P. Diddy has WAY more money than most parents of first semester students and can afford to send his son to UCLA, Harvard, and Yale (all at the same time) without taking out a Parent PLUS loan.
As much as it pains me to agree with Bill O’Reilly, it is not fair for money earmarked for athletic scholarships to go to the son of an extremely wealthy family. Yes, I understand that the money is collected from ticket sales and corporate donations. Yes, I understand the scholarships are not based on need, rather based on athletic abilities. However, this does not mean that Justin has to accept the scholarship. How many students will be forced to decline an offer to UCLA, because there is no more funding left? How many students will delay or abandon their dream of attending UCLA, because the son of a music mogul accepted a scholarship he does not need?
And for those who are upset that I am harping on a hardworking student for earning a great opportunity, remember this. Our nation’s education system is already skewed towards those who can afford to be prepared for college and against those who barely make it to graduation. Despite our core belief that everyone is entitled to a quality education, that is not always true. For example, what if I am a poor kid growing up in a moderately-sized city and my parents cannot afford to move into a better school district? Rather than attending a suburban school with other students who have the resources to start college preparation early, I attend the city school that is plagued with overcrowded classrooms and overworked guidance counselors.
Plus, if my parents have never attended college, they may not know how to apply to college, how to file for financial aid, or how to find scholarships. I may not have access to Advanced Placement tests, specialty classes beyond the basic curriculum, or internships. So, even if I am motivated to attend college, my school’s reputation and my grades may not be enough to get into a school like UCLA (or any college). The cycle continues until I am competing for the same job with college graduates, like Justin Combs, who went to UCLA or an Ivy League college. Guess which one is more likely to get hired?
I would have a tremendous amount of respect for P. Diddy and Justin Combs if he refused the money. Not accepting the scholarship will not tarnish his future football career or his academic successes. In fact, it would make him appear to be more grateful for the opportunities he has thanks to his father’s talents. And, he could say that he made it possible for a few more students to attend UCLA.
Justin, don’t let pride get in the way of doing the right thing.
PS: The article also mentions Trey Griffey, son of baseball’s Ken Griffey, Jr., is receiving a free ride to Arizona. I am just as annoyed by this story as I am about Justin Combs.